Music, choreography and costumes are essential rudiments of all the Company’s productions. Performing in a well equipped theatre, the productions of the BFM can carry out the true artistic vision of the company’s repertoire. This allows for a complete on stage creation and representation of the history behind each dance piece.
Lighting is one of the most important elements of any theatrical production. Its purpose is not only to illuminate the obvious, but to create an atmosphere that intensifies the viewers understanding and enjoyment of the performance. In order to achieve success in this area, one must know the manipulation of lighting through its distribution, intensity, movement and color. Understanding these different aspects, you can then increase or decrease visibilities of certain things on stage by bringing into focus a specific movement in the choreography, set a certain mood, or highlight a solo performer. Proper planning and consideration of each set, is the key to successfully achieve the complete task of elaborate lighting. This of course, requires the knowledge and proper equipment of a well trained expert.
The Chabot College Performing Arts Center in Hayward, California, has allowed the Company to flourish in the world of Mexican Folk Ballet. The BFM has called this venue its home since 1970, when it performed its first, annual “Christmas in Mexico” production. Thanks to the vision and detailed work of Eugene Hale, Stage manager at Chabot College, the lighting for this and many other productions have been magnificently produced. Eugene has designed lighting schemes, moods, plots, different formats and has also proposed ideas for on stage illumination since the early 1980’s. This has allowed the company to use the same creations for venues outside of the Performing Arts Center.
Some of the more dramatic designs are visible in dances such as, “Las Adelitas”, from “Revolucion”, which captures a rather solemn mood of the women soldiers who fought during the Mexican Revolution. Another example could be found in the company’s famous “Danza del Venado”, from “Sonora”, which follows the ill fate of the Sonoran deer dancer.
Scenery in conjunction with lighting, gives the audience a clearer understanding of a dance, by providing visual reinforcement to the composition. Palm trees place dancers in a tropical setting such as “Veracruz” or “Sinaloa”. The Cathedral of Guadalajara places the dancers in “Jalisco”. Such settings are created and presented through different approaches. The most commonly used by the BFM are back drops, set props, and gobos. A back drop is a scene, painted onto a large muslin canvas which is easily brought into, or out of place by use of a rail fly system. A table, well or a cactus plant is usually a smaller element of a specific scene, that is rolled or carried out by stage hand assistants, transforming itself into a set prop. The Gobo is a metal plate with a specific design cut out, used on a lighting fixture that allows illumination to reflect onto the stage floor or clear back drop. This allows the creation of such images like a tree branch, clouds, a chandelier or a celestial object such as the sun or moon.
The backdrops used by the BFM have been designed and created by Jim Mckee and Larry.
The ability to bring together these light and set designs could not have been possible without the continuous support of Roger Noyes, Manager of the Chabot College Performing Arts Center.